A garden of my own had long been a dream of mine. Shortly after I moved to Northern Michigan, my then-boyfriend and I decided that I should have one in our backyard. He wanted to build me raised beds in horseshoe shape design. The optimal area was that which was not on top of the septic leach field, and would get the most sun in the summer. We invested in 1″x12″ cedar boards, 4″x4″ cedar posts, T posts, and welded wire fencing. He built a door out of scrap 2×4’s. We were committed to making the garden pest-proof, so I stretched bird netting over the top and secured it to the edges of the fence.
The soil here is super sandy, so we bought bulk quantities of top soil and Dairy Doo to fill the beds. First I laid dead leaves over the grass. I also mulched the whole garden with dead leaves after I planted. I put all my peppers in pots mid-May, which allowed me to move them if the weather was ominous. I put brussels sprouts, broccoli, lettuce, kale, and chard all in the ground and sowed beans around May 20. I planted squash, zucchini, celery, basil, and tomatoes on May 26. My whole garden was planted by Memorial Day, which is early here but the forecast looked great and the weather turned out perfectly.
I think it all went pretty well for being my first garden! I fertilized every 2 weeks with Neptune’s Harvest. I managed caterpillar damage with BT. When powdery mildew appeared on my zucchini plant, I combated with the soapy water, oil, and baking soda method. I utilized a huge tarp to extend the season through September. I didn’t get into canning, but I froze tomatoes and dried chili peppers. Now we can’t wait for more fresh, home-grown produce! The whole process is just so fun and satisfying.